Estimated reading time 3 minutes 3 Min

NSW Labor prepares to govern as Liberals soul search

As Labor’s Chris Minns prepares his party to govern in NSW, the dissection of the result is underway.

March 27, 2023
By Phoebe Loomes and Luke Costin
27 March 2023

NSW Labor is preparing to form government for the first time in more than a decade after a definitive victory which shattered coalition hopes of a historic fourth term.

Leader Chris Minns will be the state’s 47th premier after the party took at least nine seats from the government with a statewide two-party preferred swing of seven per cent.

“Friends, after 12 years in opposition, the people of NSW have voted for a fresh start,” the 43-year-old told jubilant faithful in Sydney on Saturday night.

Labor is predicted to form a comfortable majority, after claiming Penrith, Parramatta, Camden, East Hills and Riverstone in Sydney’s south and west, and regional seats including the South Coast and Terrigal.

The ALP now governs every mainland state and territory, with Tasmania the last Liberal holdout.

Federal Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen said the sweeping and diverse nature of the NSW victory demonstrated how united Labor was. 

“It shows just like we have at a federal level, we’ve sort of got that approach which brings people together on many of the big challenges facing our state and our country,” he told ABC Radio on Sunday.

“Most particularly climate change but on many issues to build that synthesis to say we have an approach which is not simple or easy but it’s the right approach for people of all walks of life.

“And trying to reject that politics of toxic tribalism of pitting people against each other which really has dominated the conservative playbook for the last 15 years or so.”

Federal Liberal Andrew Bragg said it was always going to be hard for his party to win a fourth term but NSW had not been wiped out in areas that the federal branch had been in 2022.

He urged the NSW Liberals not to overreach as they prepare for new leadership.

“The Liberal Party has held on to the bulk of its metro seats, on the north shore, in the eastern suburbs, parts of the inner west,” Mr Bragg said on ABC Radio.

“These are the areas that were wiped out in the last federal election and I think that’s an important distinction.”

“One of the most important lessons here is that we have to be a party that doesn’t go to the margins and that doesn’t seek to inject division into the mainstream.”

After 12 years in the political wilderness, Mr Minns will lead a Labor team of mostly debutantes, with the party tipped to gain at least 47 seats necessary to govern in its own right.

Addressing a jubilant gathering in Sydney, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said NSW had chosen a better future.

“Chris Minns has been a great leader for NSW Labor,” he said.

“And after tonight, he will be a great premier for the people of NSW.”

After the devastating loss, a gutted Premier Dominic Perrottet stunned supporters by announcing he would step down as Liberal leader. He took “full responsibility” for the loss.

“This next period of time will not be easy but it will be necessary,” he said at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney’s CBD.

He heaped praise on his opponent in a gracious concession speech, urging people to get behind Mr Minns whatever their political persuasion.

Deputy Liberal Leader and Treasurer Matt Kean is a top contender for the party’s leadership.

More in Top Stories